What conflict? Reindeer, Kiawah runs have strong numbers

Photo by SIM Sports More than 3,000 runners are expected to start Saturday's 38th annual Kiawah Island Marathon and Half Marathon.

Despite the fact that two of Charleston’s most established races are being held on the same Saturday for the first time ever, it’s not hurting registrations for either one.

On Monday, the 25th annual Reindeer Run 5K hit 2,215 registrants, surpassing last year’s number, and is within reach of breaking its record of 2,700 set in 2012, according to Race Director Amanda Mahaffey.

She credits the robust numbers to an active social media campaign and is fairly confident of breaking the registration record.

“We typically average about 500 registrations in the final week of the race,” says Mahaffey, noting that the weather forecast looks good for the festive event.

That forecast calls for seasonably warm temperatures and no rain until Monday.

The 38th annual Kiawah Island Golf Resort Marathon and Half Marathon registrations are on par with 1,000 for the 26.2-mile run and 2,800 for the 13.1-mile race, says Race Director Elisabeth King.

“The numbers (registrations) are phenomenal,” says King, who toyed with closing the marathon in late November.

Demand & supply

As you may have read in this space last week, the reason organizers of the Reindeer Run, the Charitable Society of Charleston, had to move the date of the event from its usual spot on the first Saturday of December to this Saturday was due to a cruise ship.

The city of Charleston’s special events committee said the society would either have to move the location or the date of the race. The society chose the latter because of its long-established relationship with Southend Brewery.

But the appeal of running races, despite the fees and parking hassles, remains strong.

The 38th Knights of Columbus Turkey Day Run on Thanksgiving Day drew a record-breaking 8,216 registrants and 7,539 finishers, a total that will likely put it on the Top 10 largest 5Ks in the United States this year.

Reindeer Run

Local runners, both competitive and recreational, love the Reindeer Run because of the prize money, creative holiday costumes, kids, dogs and free beer. It’s a perfect combination.

For many in Charleston, it is the kick-off to the holidays.

Late registration fees are $40 for adults and $30 for kids and can be completed, in-person, 11 a.m.-6:30 p.m. Friday at Omar Shrine Temple in Mount Pleasant. Race day registration is $50 and is available 7-8 a.m. Saturday.

The race, which is presented by Half-Moon Outfitters, is set for 9 a.m. Saturday on East Bay Street in front of Southend Brewery.


Kiawah is classic

Like the Reindeer, Kiawah has its formula down pat, but still loves to experiment.

This year, Kiawah is offering a “high performance corral” – at the front of the pack - to no more than 200 of its fastest runners, notably sub-3 hour marathoners and sub-1:20 half marathoners.

But it also is working closely with personal trainers from Pivotal Fitness at the finish line. The trainers will be available to assist weary runners with some stretching. Also, providers of chocolate milk and organic fruit juices from Florida will be at the finish line.

Similar to the Turkey Day Run, Kiawah will be asking people who post photographs on Instagram and Twitter to tag pics #KiawahMarathon to be added to its social media pages and be included in a post-race photo display.

Late fees for Kiawah (which has the best post-race food offering I’ve experienced) are $125 for the marathon and $115 for the marathon. While online registration has closed, in-person registration is available at packet pick-up 4-7 p.m. today or 10 a.m.-8:30 p.m. Friday at the East Beach Conference Center on Kiawah Island.

Kiawah starts at 8 a.m. Saturday.


The little holiday race

At 3 p.m. Monday, I posted a “flash survey” on my Facebook page, asking people if they were going to do the Reindeer Run, Kiawah, or the 5th annual Jingle Bell Run/Walk for Arthritis at Laurel Hill Park in Mount Pleasant, or none of the above.

After an hour, nine chose Reindeer (mostly sighting its shorter distance, it’s a “tradition,” and festivities), four chose Kiawah, and one guy says he’s running over the Cooper River bridge on Saturday because it’s free.

None chose the Jingle Bell Run/Walk, which never has had to compete with the longer-established, more elaborate Reindeer Run. Jingle Bell, which is part of a national series of races to raise money for arthritis, drew 146 participants last year.

That said, Jingle Bell is an option for fans of the underdog and those who don’t want the hassles of the big crowds.

The fifth Jingle Bell run will be held at 9 a.m. Saturday and will include a “Dancer Dash” Kids Run at 10 a.m. The event will be held at Laurel Hill County Park.

The cost is $25 for adults, $15 for kids.


Acro yoga @ Christopher gym

There is one non-running event of note.

On Thursday evenings, veteran acro yoga participant Sally Bette Newman has been conducting an Acroyoga Class and Jam, 7-9 p.m. at the Arthur Christopher Community Center.

The class is $15 and runs 7-8 p.m. The jam runs 8-9 p.m. It’s free to those who take the class but $5 for those who just come to the jam.

“We are excited to be offering regular Thursday classes at the Arthur Christopher Community Center. It’s a beautiful new facility in a diverse neighborhood, with lots of space to play,” says Newman.

“The classes are all level and I love working with people at any level of fitness and experience to develop their acroyoga practice. Whether you’ve already tried it and are looking for more creative sequences, or you’ve never tried flying or basing, we are ready to play.

Newman adds that people can come with or without a partner.